Every day millions of Americans traverse this country, and it’s estimated that some 660,000 of those drivers are using an electronic device while driving. In 2015, more than 3,400 people were killed by distracted driving, when the motorist at fault was doing something other than watching the road. One of the biggest distractions is texting. Research shows that if you text and drive, you are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. Texting and driving have become so dangerous that Apple recently announced a do-not-disturb app meant to deter drivers from texting while behind the wheel.
According to news reports, when Apple releases its iOS 11, which is the operating system that runs all of Apple’s products, it will have a do-not-disturb mode for iPhones. When activated, the app will mute notification sounds and keep the screen dark when you are operating a vehicle. You will also be able to set up an automatic response that will let the person trying to communicate with you know that you are driving and you will get back with them when you arrive at your destination. The app will also be able to detect whether you are not moving in the vehicle. This will allow the user to temporarily disable the app so you can use your phone. As Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi notes:
“It’s all about keeping your eyes on the road. When you are driving, you don’t need to be responding to these kinds of messages.”
Young Drivers Distracted More Often
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers under the age of 20 are more at risk of being distracted. The CDC notes that this age group has the highest percentage of deaths related to distracted driving. In 2013, young drivers were asked about texting and driving and two out of five admitted to driving and texting or sending an email. That’s a disturbing thought when you consider the amount of time your eyes are off the road if you are texting. Experts say that if someone is driving 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to drive the length of a football field. In other words, if you are driving and texting, you are traveling at least 100 yards without looking at the road.
Colorado Increases Penalties for Texting Motorists
Colorado is among the states that have strict laws when it comes to texting and driving. Currently:
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving
- Adult drivers are also prohibited from using a cell for texts and similar transmissions while driving.
As for penalties if you are caught texting and driving in Colorado, the state legislature just passed a bill in April that increases fines for texting offenses. The penalty for a first offense was originally $50 and one point added to your driving record. That fine is now $300 and four points on your record.